Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 70 / MARCH 1986 / PAGE 60

Hex For Atari ST

George Miller,

Assistant Technical Editor

Requirements: Atari ST computer and a joystick.

Colors swirl about you, constantly changing patterns as the arena is affected first by your magic, then by the magical powers of your opponent. Might this be the day that you divine the secrets of this mystical realm and emerge victorious, hailed by all as the most powerful magician in the universe?

Hex is a colorful and deceptively simple game. Your goal is to change the 19 hexagonal blocks of the arena to green before your opponent—controlled by the computer—can turn them to purple. All it takes to change a block's color is to jump on it with your onscreen character. Each block changes color in a sequence displayed at the start of each level: green, then red, then purple, and finally blue before the sequence repeats. Seemingly a simple enough task.

Each of the 12 opponents you face employs a different strategy. Some opponents try to overpower you by the force of their magic, while others combine magic with cunning strategy and wisdom. If that isn't enough, at higher levels you may be confronted by several rival magicians, all working against you. You must learn the game well and plan your strategy carefully on the lower levels, because the computer becomes relentless as you progress to higher levels. There is no margin for error.

After successfully completing a round, you're offered the chance to learn a new magic spell. Each spell is costly, and you must exercise good judgment before undertaking the necessary instruction. Is the cost of the spell too high in energy points? Will it leave you too weak to face your next opponent?

Fast reflexes won't help in Hex. In fact, the key to early success is to play slowly and carefully, considering each move, much as in chess. Don't let the speed at which the computer plays trick you into making quick decisions. You're facing an opponent who is analyzing your tactics much faster than you can respond. Each rapid-fire move by the computer has a purpose; you must watch closely and try to disrupt its plans.

Hex may be one of the most challenging and fascinating strategy games yet devised for a computer. Although the game is simple to learn, you need to develop complex strategies to win consistently. You'll be amazed at how quickly your opponent ceases to be just a computer and seems to acquire distinct personality traits of its own.

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